Looking for CC to better my photography!


TPF Noob!
Jan 6, 2016
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All of the below shots are of my youngest son ( he is a little ham) shot with a Nikon D7100. Over the past few months i have transitioned over to Manual Mode but i know i still have a ton to learn. Any comments and critiques are welcome to aid in improvements.

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My comment is that you should use much larger aperture to throw the backgrounds well out of focus - that applies to the first two, really, as you have achieved the out of focus background in the last two.

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OP - What a cutie! Nice work. I like the first 2 a lot. You managed to keep his face from being too shadowed by the really cute oversized hat and the backgrounds give the shots a nice context, IMO. Did you purposefully crop off his other foot and the top of the hat in #2? Shots 3 & 4 have too much vignetting for my taste and also I think the dof is a little too shallow in shot #3. Personally, I'm not that big of a fan of the really shallow depth of field shots where only the eyes are in focus and the rest of the face is soft. I guess this is a matter of taste as it's so popular these days but I just think it's getting overdone.

Portraits are not my forte but thought I'd chime in anyway! For the record, I think blurred backgrounds are great but not necessary to make a nice portrait.
I would study composition and look into the difference between "landscape" and "portrait" camera orientations, and when to use both types of compositional strategies. I would suggest buying a couple of older, out of print books on photography, not digital imaging, and studying the ideas and lessons contained in those books. Learn from people whose work and writing skills were considered good enough to offer for sale, in the era before anybody with a video camera and a YouTube account could offer so-called instructional videos.

Study, from books, or on your own, how to compose images to use the entire frame's space to good effect. Look into how to shoot square aspect ratio images. Learn some of the language of visual communication, from master-level teachers. I'm being totally serious: move back in time, to some older books about photography, books that focus on the fundamentals, not "recipes", not "the exposure triangle" and so on.

Why older BOOKS, and not brand-new books or new YouTube videos? It's like the difference between learning how to write...and how to write a catchy Facebook post.
Cute little guy. He looks like he would be a hoot to play with.
Any comments and critiques are welcome to aid in improvements.

Your photographs have problems with backgrounds and framing.

I don't particularly agree with this. I for one don't have to have the entire subject within the shot to like it. I like shots that are cropped interestingly.

I particularly like #2. I like the composition and the way the light can be seen outlining the dark hat against the dark background. I would like a little more blurring in the background, but it isn't bad as is.
I think you are doing well already.
#1 I think the background is a bit distracting, but you did well to not have his face covered by shadow from the hat.
#2 Looks like you cut parts off on purpose (did you?) If on purpose, then cool - artistic choice. I would prefer to have more room on the right, but clipping the hat does not bother me. I like that you got down low for the shot.
#3 Is my favorite. I like the angle.
#4 Prefer to see the eyes unless there is another or different subject (like looking down at a toy or flower or bug).
I really like the second shot. Try to avoid cutting off appendages for full body shots like that though. I think a looser crop on that one that includes all of his hat and both his feet would improve that shot by a lot. As far as blurry backgrounds go, it isn't necessary to have a super out of focus background in order to get a great kid's portrait, but if that's a look that you like I would recommend looking into a 50mm f/1.8 or an 85mm f/1.8 lens.

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